Hazardous Chemical Waste

Paint thinner and nitric acid

Collection by outside vendors

According the the APS 11.2, the University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety Department is responsible for collection of hazardous waste for the University, all its campuses and offsite locations. This means that you cannot contract with an outside vendor to collect your waste.

The APS 11.2 reads:

"Environmental Health and Safety Department

The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) has authority and responsibility for management of the collection, transport, temporary storage, and disposal of regulated wastes, including the recycling of solvents, redistribution of unused chemicals, and waste minimization techniques."

Chemical Waste Collection Requests

Request a one-time pickup of your waste with an Online Chemical Waste Collection request or Chemical Waste Collection Request (PDF). For the PDF version, fill out all information completely and fax or snail mail (contact information is on the form.) You can also scan it and email to chmwaste@uw.edu.

Chemical waste generated on a regular basis may be set up as routine pickup. To do this, fill out a New Routine Chemical Waste Collection Request (PDF). Your chemical waste will be assigned a routine number that will be linked to the waste composition and the pickup location. If you already have a Routine number and want a pickup, fill out the online Routine Chemical Waste Collection Request with the number and amount of waste. If you have questions about whether a waste qualifies for routine collection, email chmwaste@uw.edu or call 206.616.5835.

List of all collection request forms:

There is no charge for waste collection except for unknowns and unstable peroxide formers. See the EH&S Guidelines for Peroxide Forming Chemicals for more information.

What is hazardous chemical waste?

Chemicals that are corrosive, flammable, toxic, or explosive are "hazardous". Some additional chemicals are managed as hazardous waste at UW because they are known, probable or suspected carcinogens, teratogens, irritants and/or sensitizers (see a current MSDS for the chemical to determine if the chemical is any of these.) For more information, refer to Section 3 of the Laboratory Safety Manual (PDF), take the online Managing Laboratory Chemicals training or call 206.616.5835. Also refer to local sewer discharge limits for some common laboratory chemicals.

Mixtures of chemicals may not be hazardous waste, depending on their concentration and toxicity. For information on how to calculate whether a mixture of chemicals is hazardous waste, see Section 3 of the Laboratory Safety Manual (PDF).

If you are unwilling or unable to determine if your chemical or chemical mixture is hazardous, fill out and send a Waste Evaluation Request and EH&S will send you the answer.

Waste Accumulation Rules

  1. Containers with dangerous waste must be closed, except when adding or removing waste.
  2. Accumulate waste in a sturdy, compatible container with a screw top lid.
  3. Label all containers with a completed UW Hazardous Waste Label.
  4. Leave some headspace in the container for temperature and vapor pressure changes.
  5. Store waste in secondary containment to contain spills and leaks.
  6. Make sure the the waste accumulation location is under your control (i.e. not in hallways.)
  7. Stay under maximum accumulation limits for each type of waste (54 gallons for most chemical waste, 1 quart for extremely hazardous waste).
  8. Do not accumulate the same type of waste into two containers at the same time.
  9. Have documented training for chemical waste management. Laboratory staff should take the Managing Laboratory Chemicals online training or periodic classroom training. Shops and facilities staff should use the Chemical Waste Guide for Facilities Services (PDF) as training; the last page of the guide serves as a training document. Clinical staff should take the Hazardous Waste Management for Clinics online training.

If your waste is accumulated improperly, we will discuss the problem with you if you are present. We will not pick up your waste until the problem has been corrected. If you have any questions, please contact the hazardous waste technologist collecting in your area.

Hazardous Waste Self-Audit Checklist

Use the Hazardous Waste Self-Audit Checklist to evaluate your compliance with hazardous waste regulations. This checklist was developed by EH&S to help UW staff prepare for periodic hazardous waste inspections by the Department of Ecology, but it can be used at any time.

Waste minimization

On average, EH&S collects about 200,000 kg of hazardous chemical waste a year. About 50% of this waste is destroyed in a high temperature hazardous waste incinerator. About 50% is reused, recycled, or treated. Read more about EH&S programs for waste elimination, product substitution, reuse, recycling and treatment.

"Waste-like" chemicalschemical waste containers

"Waste-like" chemicals are items with faded labels, deteriorating containers, leaks and/or other obvious signs that the chemicals are not being used. Also, waste-like chemicals are very likely not to be used in the future.

Request collection of "waste-like" chemicals as hazardous waste. Regulatory staff conduct periodic inspections of laboratories and may assess fines for the presence of "waste-like" chemicals. These chemicals present an unreasonable risk of spills and exposures.

Legacy chemicals

Legacy chemicals are unwanted chemicals left behind by a previous occupant of your laboratory space. Occupants moving out of a space have the responsibility of cleaning out the space, but unfortunately this doesn't always happen. Request collection of legacy chemicals as hazardous waste. There is no charge for waste collection except for unknowns and unstable peroxide formers. See the EH&S Guidelines for Peroxide Forming Chemicals for more information.

Unknown chemicals

Send in a Chemical Waste Collection Request (PDF) for unknown chemicals. It costs approximately $80 per unknown for basic analysis before waste collection is possible.

Shops and facilities hazardous waste

For hazardous wastes commonly found in machine shops and facilities, please see the Chemical Waste Guide for Facilities Services (PDF). This Guide covers what to do for shop rags, aerosol cans, used oil, pesticides and more. It includes a page that can be used as a training document.


If you are relocating or cleaning out your workplace and have a large volume of chemical waste, here are some guidelines.

  • If you will have more than 100 containers of waste, call 206.616.5835 to arrange for a cleanout appointment at least one month in advance of your move.
  • Fill out copies of the Online Chemical Waste Collection request or the Chemical Waste Collection Request (PDF) and fax or mail them to us. Any waste not in its original container must have a completed UW Hazardous Waste label. We will pick up the waste in two to four weeks after you request collection.
  • Finally, remember to update your chemical inventory with MyChem.

Contact list

The below numbers are for the hazardous waste technologists that collect in each of the five zones.

Zone Locations Phone number
0 UW Bothell, UW Tacoma, "offsite locations" 206.685.2849
1 UW Seattle main campus from Benjamin Hall in the West, the UW Tower in the North and Urban Horticulture in the East (less Zone 4 buildings) 206.616.0587
2 UW Medical Center through D wing, T wing and CHDD 206.616.0586
3 UW Seattle Health Sciences Building E wing through K wing, Hitchcock Hall, Foege, OCN, all south campus waterfront buildings east of 15th except CHDD 206.616.3200
4 Buildings that fall with the perimeter of NE Pacific St, 15th Ave, Grant Pl and Garfield including, but not limited to, Bagley, Molecular Engineering, Botany Greenhouse and Physics/Astronomy complex 206.543.2931
5 Harborview Medical Center Complex 206.897-2116